pregnant twins

anyones and anymores

In ALL, BREAKUPS & BREAKTHROUGHS, DATING & MATING, ILLNESS, KNOCKED UP by Stephanie Klein49 Comments

As I was wiping today, I realized just how much my life has changed.  Discharge, I thought as I glanced at the toilet paper.  I once was obsessed with it.  Examining, touching, rubbing it between two fingers checking the consistency, hoping it would clue me in to my ovulation cycle.  I’d once had a detailed discharge discussion with my cousin and my friend Jaimee (two separate conversations).  Women chart these things.  Actually take the time to download a template or create their own.  They document their discharge with terms like “paste” and “egg whites.”  I don’t need to do this anymore.  Which got me to thinking of other anymores.

Of Linus and how I miss him profoundly.  How he somehow stood as a symbol for my independence, how he was with me through everything, and now he’s gone.  And I imagine him standing on his two hind legs, sniffing into the air with his cold wet nose in search of some food on a counter somewhere, or walking toward a window in search of a fly.  And I miss him and the life I had with him in my bedroom with one green wall.  I remember the conversations I had there, in that room.  Coming home early from his place, needing to walk Linus, feed him, my self-serve dog.  And hearing from him, that phone call, where he told me he’d rather not see me later that day as we’d planned just before I’d left his place.  I remember what I was wearing.  My pink shirt, the one that’s no longer pink because it was washed with Lucas’s blue overalls, and they bled.   And now my favorite shirt isn’t anymore.  And when we spoke I was still wearing my boots.  Lying on my bed, boots still on, knowing I should have removed them, but they were “on the brown” (the plush espresso towel draped at the edge of the bed where Linus was permitted to chew a toy).  And he called, and we spoke, him mostly.  And then we weren’t anymore.  I was in the same clothes I’d been in when he’d kissed me goodbye and lied, “see you later.”  And I felt anxious and shit all day.  I don’t miss that anymore, but somehow I still miss.

Linus is happy with Lea, and they both might be moving to Austin in August if she finds a job here.  But once upon a lifetime ago, I was obsessed with Linus, with choosing a breed of dog, taking “what kind of dog is right for you?” quizzes.  Obsessed with teaching him the “drop it” command.  And then decorating.  And photography.  And Photoshop and then Photoshop upgrades and Mac repairs and backing up my hard drives with SuperDuper.  Then my body and the gym and getting into shape.  Designing handbags.  Designing menus and cocktail concoctions.  Then reading, new books.  Movies, learning about film.  Planning a trip, where to stay, when to go, where to eat.  I live my life in small rounds of obsession.  Cyclical.  Missing what I’ve left behind, hoping to pick it up again, coming full circle, wondering as I revisit old how I ever left it behind.

This is not, surprisingly, how I feel about New York.  I am a New Yorker.  I love New York and some of its inhabitants.  But I don’t miss it.  Living there for thirteen years, in Manhattan, I realized it was the same.  I hadn’t missed anything, only anyones.  It was the same as it ever was, a Talking Heads of a visit, and it reminded me how thankful I am of my new adventures.

Though when I fall asleep at night it all runs through my head, the where I’ve beens.   And in all the floating anymores that come into focus as I close my eyes, I remember going into labor, and my body constricts.  I need to flip over and find a new position in bed.  I still cannot believe I went into labor 10 weeks early, alone.  And all I can think is, “Thank God I’m such a lazy shit.”  Because had I been running around trying to exercise and keep active, I would never have forgiven myself.  Still, I replay it.  I know they’re happy and healthy now, but it doesn’t blunt the memory.  I’m still scared of it, really.  Still in disbelief.  I went for the Advil the other day and thought, “I remember when I wasn’t allowed to have Advil.”  Because I was pregnant.  I wasn’t pregnant long enough, I also thought.  And I can’t help but blame myself.  Intellectually, of course I know there was nothing I could have done differently, and worry or thoughts like this aren’t productive with happy sweet beans here and now.  But my mind works this way, turns over when I’m trying to sleep.  And all the anymores are in the past, and it casts a faint tint of gloom, saying goodbye to so much. And this is what comes with motherhood: a string of new anyones and anymores.

Comments

  1. This is exactly how I feel. I miss and wonder what it would be like to still live in that world, but all the same, I would never trade it. The bottom line: I was meant to be Mom, but I can still have moments of longing for just me.

  2. Great entry today, Stephanie. It couldn't be more true for me also. To everything there is a season…cue The Byrds. My current obsession is trying to be less of a dilettante.

  3. Funny- I felt some of those same things the day I came to Bryant Park for your book panel. As I walked through Bryant Park, in NYC, where I hadn't been since my single days in 2004, I felt like I was running through a reel of memories. For a minute I was missing my days of running through the city wondering if I'd meet a guy, who I would flirt with, and where we'd get into.

    I'm thrilled to be married and I love my life. It's just when I got into that park at lunch-hour and got catcalled, I remembered a more carefree, less responsible time and just missed it for a minute. I don't miss the wondering if "he" would call, or the relationships that ended with me questioning lies vs truth and the unsettled pit of stomach feelings that come with single life. But, I just missed the people I used to hang with, the stuff we did together, and just some of the selfishness.

    My point I guess- I totally get where you're coming from.

  4. i go the cyclical obsession route a lot too. I feel like it gives me something important to do all the time. Makes you an expert at something for a minute and in the end adds to the 'jack of all trades…master of none' thingy. you never have to be bored or alone because you have "that thing to go do," the one you're really into at the moment. And people think you're worldy and well-rounded but in the end were just bored and curious, we need to feel in control over something, we're eager and empty. i think it makes us not empty. and if nothing else, makes us more interesting to talk to.

    p.s. the wiping description probably tops the scalp picking story.

  5. Um, not all women chart discharge. No way, Jose. Times like this I feel like an alien within my gender.

  6. So a fabulous friend of mine turned me onto your blog, and this one really ressonates with me. I too lived in NYC (yet only for 5 years but long enough to have lived through 9-11), now live in Austin, and I am currently 33 weeks pregnant with twins. I am TERRIFIED of going into labor early as I have been hospitalized twice with "false labor", but even more scary is the concept of my life as I have know it for 35 years is ending. I have always been that person that drives her OWN car to any event so that I am not trapped, and now as my pregnancy draws to an end…I feel my options running out. It makes me feel like a "bad mother" that I am not excited, though the pregnancy was absolutely planned. That I desperately want to go to happy hour and have too many margaritas, lay comfortably on the couch when I want (I stress comfortably because I have been uncomfortable now for 8 months), and I fear this new life I am about to embark upon. I have lots of support here in town, but I am single which adds another level of resistance to the mix.

    ANYWAYS…I appreciate your candor, and I would love to join your group of women that you have mentioned that you connect with here in town. I need that so that becoming a mother does not strip me of me.

    Nicole

  7. This post completely resonates with me, discharge charting and all. They say life has its chapters and you've started a new one, again. I think I'm doing the same now – just deciding what it want it to be about and hope it has the happy ending I'm hoping for.

  8. I have been a long time reader of your blog, but don't comment. I apologize for that, sort of rude of me. I know what you mean with this post. I have a 6 month old son, and as his birth drew near, I started to worry about my life and how it would never be the same, selfish of me, no? I was overjoyed to be pregnant and was really looking forward to his birth, but boy, did I start thinking of all the things in my life that had brought me to that point. I am thrilled to be a mom and where I am in my life now, but it's human to think back on our past and even miss it.

  9. Sweet Linus. My dog does the same thing, stands on his two hindlegs to see what's up there on the counter, just to take a peek.

    I know exactly what you mean about circles. Since having Kellen Ive been living my life in stacks and piles. Everything is piled everywhere. Clean, folded clothes sit on the partition, stacked and waiting to be put away. Books are stacked among my night stand and on the floor, waiting for my lazy ass to buy yet another bookshelf to house them.
    It's finally driving me nuts b/c it's like I keep waiting for myself to return to this old life of mine and it just isnt going to happen.
    Sometimes I get a waft of sweet popcorn and it takes me back to State Street, passing Melvin B's while shopping with my gf over our lunch hours.

    It makes me incredibly sad but then I remember some of the more difficult times I went through in Chicago, how even back then I was longing for more.

    Good read. I hope L moves there. :) That would be awesome for you and the babies and Linus.

    Nicole, Im a single mom. As long as you have support you can do it. Dont let your status as single mom hinder you or piss on your joy. It's not nearly as bad as everyone tries to make it out to be. :) Good luck!

  10. Sometimes I think you try so hard to sound deep and mysterious… or "like a writer," that it doesn't make any sense. This is so muddled!!!!!!!!

  11. Glad to hear that Linus may be moving to Austin. That would be awesome! Oh, and your sis would be there too :)

  12. Beware of the egg-white mucous! I noticed some when my twins were only 16 months old. It was interesting, getting to find out what it's like to be pregnant with ONE baby. ;-)

  13. I actually brought up your blog in therapy yesterday (the post last week about how marriages don't last as long these days because we have more time to obsess and pick apart our lives…which I believe is the reason why I'm seeing a therapist in the first place..I don't truly think that there's anything horribly wrong with my life, so why do I go?).

    Anyway, it's funny because what you wrote above (not the discharge part!, but the "live my life in small rounds of obsession" part) is also what we talked about last night. I go through these times where I hop from thing to thing in life, each one "more exciting" and "more meaningful" than the past, of course. ;) It's this constant search for what's next and my therapist and I realized last night that my struggles are coming from me trying to be everything to everyone and not working hard enough to live in the now. You shouldn't *have* to work hard to live life in the now, I know, but for me and my Type-A/planner/pleaser psyche, I *do* have to work at it…

    It sounds like you're going through some very peaceful self-reflection right now where you're coming to terms with and learning to love "the now". I'm excited for that time in my life and it's reassuring to read someone else who seems like me going through it. :) All the best!!!

  14. Susan C – check out the book The Power of Now by Eckard Tolle. You will love it. It gives us type A folks "structure" to being in the now. :)

  15. So beautifully insightful. I spend a lot of time reflecting and thinking back on the past – maybe too much time – but to me it is where I came from and a reminder of how far I've come.

  16. This is my first post on here but I just finished reading your book. Thanks for all of the wonderful insight. Today was my court date for my own divorce. 24, married less than 2 years, and already divorced. Thanks for making me feel like it's OKAY to be me. Thanks for sharing my cyclical obsessions. You don't know how much it helps people to feel like they aren't alone in their journey.

    Hugs,
    Christy

  17. I have a very bad habit of wanting to do things simply because I had done them in the past and confuse it with tradition. Thanks for reminding me its ok to break out and start new things, not keeping myself always in the same cycle anymore…

  18. Perhaps this is too personal (though you were just mentioning discharge…), but have you always wanted children? Did you always know you were going to be a mother someday? If I may, I extend the question to your readers, as well. I just turned 31, am married almost 3 years, and I'm still not sure about motherhood. This worries me, for shouldn't I KNOW by now, even if I'm not ready to have kids right away? I told my husband I wanted children because I thought I did, but now I'm not sure and this would likely end our marriage (me definitely not wanting children). It's not like being a mother is reversible (the ultimate theme of this post, I think). I don't want to end up resenting my child. And like you, I fear losing myself (cause I have a fairly tenuous hold on my identity as it is). At 31, it's not like I can wait another 8 or 9 years to see if my feelings change. People say I'd be a good mother because I'm kind, caring blah blah blah, but that doesn't equate maternal. Or maybe I feel this way just because I think my mother was kind of selfish as a parent and I worry I'll be the same. I know, I should be discussing this with people who actually KNOW me (and care) but I'm wondering how people would respond objectively.

  19. Sentimental, wistful and optimistic too. And so much in those few paragraphs. Enough to have each of your readers relating to one, two or three of your feelings and thoughts. (More in a lot of your readers.)

    For me; "cyclical obsessions." (Although I refer to it as my pretend ADD. A bit of a stretch, maybe) I feel like there is only so much time, and way too many interests I want to investigate. I relate to going to bed and letting the past lives I've lived have a few minutes of my thoughts before I fall to sleep.

    I'm happy to hear your Linus is doing well, and may come to Austin. Thank you for sharing some of your inner thoughts Stephanie…and letting your readers relate to them.

    Hope you and the Beans have a fun and happy rest of the day.

    3T

  20. Suzanne,

    Don't feel so bad; I'm 36 and I STILL am not so sure about kids. I mean, there are glimpses of a baby pang here and there, but I just don't have that constant "baby on the brain," and never have.

    I think some women just know they want to be moms, and some don't. I'm at the point in my life where I ask myself, "Do I want to go through menopause and puberty at the same time?' Bleh, it doesn't sound so hot! I'm honestly not convinced that having kids is what it is all cracked up to be. Maybe I don't buy into the hype, and you know what…it's perfectly alright.

  21. Suzanne – I'm 28 and engaged and have NO CLUE if I want children. I go back and forth pretty regularly. Some days, I definitely don't want children. I want to dedicate myself to my career and live a life with my husband that includes frequent travel and other pleasures that are harder to come by when raising and financing a family. Other days, I read the writings of Stephanie and other people and I am compelled by the love that they feel for their children, and I think I really want that experience (yes, I realize having children is much more than an "experience"). I raised my brothers for many years, so I think part of my struggle is that my notion of children isn't romanticized. I've done the sleepless nights, potty training, colds, fevers, up through adolesence and all the stuff that comes with it. I think, because I have a first hand knowledge of how hard it is, I'm a little wary of jumping into it. In fact, it terrifies me. At this point, I don't know what we will decide to do. The way I see it, I have at least another 7-8 years to decide, so I am not going to stress about it now.

    That big fat rambling diatribe was my way of saying that not everyone knows for sure one way or another. You're not alone in your confusion. I think the important thing is that, whatever you decide, you make the best of it.

  22. Suzanne — I was 34 and still had no burning desire for a child. But my dh and I decided it was now or never, so we got pregnant. Ten years later, I couldn't imagine life without my son. He is such a joy. Now, this is what I tell friends who are on the fence about having children: If you are ABSOLUTELY sure you don't want kids, don't have one. But if you are ambivalent, do it. You won't regret it.

  23. Heart skipping a beat.
    I've figured it out. You have a contagious life force. Every moment is alive and lived. As it should be. Keep remembering the anyones and anymores and write while it's fresh. Honestly, I can taste my own experiences with what you write. And that's it… life is to be tasted, devoured, no apologies. Sit back, unbutton your top button, look out at the sun setting and thank God for how full you are. :)

  24. P.S. I never charted, could never 'read' my discharge. I relied on ovulation kits. Three kids later, I guess they have some merit.:)

  25. Not on purpose, as I begun reading this post, "The Only Living Boy in New York" came up on my itunes.

    "Let your honesty shine shine shine"

  26. Sometimes the doldrums of motherhood can leave us missing even the painful moments that were more exciting and free. Its amazing how memory and imagination can both help us and haunt us.

    Great post!

  27. I loved this post. Speaks so well of changes, life, what's left behind and what becomes.

    P.S. Just got the Paperback edition of Straight Up and Dirty in the mail- very excited to start reading it!

  28. Suzanne–me too! I'm 36 and unmarried (though partnered with someone who wants to have children with me) and on the fence about kids. In fact, leaning to the no-kids side. My whole young(er) life I imagined my path as: graduate high school, go to college, get married, have kids (all the while maintaining a career)…but now that I'm in my mid-30s, I'm thinking, You know, I really like to sleep. And eat when I want to. And be free to come and go as I please. And enjoy work and go to grad school and be really present for my family and friends, etc., etc.

    At 31, you definitely don't have to hurry. I've heard people say "If you wait till you're ready, you'll never do it–because no one's ever 'ready' to have kids." (In other words, you can never know all the challenges and wonders parenthood brings.) And that makes sense to me. So does the previous poster's advice about not doing it if you're sure, but doing it if you're unsure. Also, consider that a lot of us try the approach of "waiting for clarity," but sometimes making the choice comes before the clarity. That probably confuses the hell out of things, doesn't it? But I guess I'm just saying (in a very roundabout way) that there's no right or wrong way to go, and there's no trick to "knowing for sure," and that whatever happens, you'll be fine, fine, fine. Good luck to you…and know you're not alone in the not knowing.

  29. SK,

    I had no idea that you gave Linus up. I must have missed that post. That makes me so sad. I am obsessed with my "babies" (2 dog-like cats) and I hear the stories from my friends who became mothers and how the animals just aren't a priority anymore. Is that true? Please tell me. I just looked into each of their eyes as I glanced up from my mac (I too go thru obsession phases…next one the list is photography w/my first SLR) and I just can't IMAGINE giving them up under ANY circumstance. I could feel how much you loved/obsessed over Linus. Isn't there room for all? Jen

  30. Suzanne,

    I am 47 have been married 21 years and I don't have kids. I thought when I was really young that I really really wanted kids. I was divorced by 24 also and then remarried by 26. We got married with the attitude that either way was ok. As time when on we realized that neither of us really wanted kids. They ARE a lot of work and neither of us really wanted to give up anything for them. If you really think you don't want kids don't have them because you think you have to for everyone else. I love kids, I just never wanted any that I was responsible for. I enjoy being the bad Aunt. :)

  31. I know what you mean about the wiping. Once I have this baby, I am going to feel strange every month when I ovulate. After trying for so long, what is going to feel like for a year or more to NOT try? Argh.

    Nicole, I also live in Austin, email me if you would like to meet for brunch or lunch or virgin martinis sometime.

    andriaandco@gmail.com

  32. Suzanne –

    I'm also 31, almost 32. Been with the man I love for 7 years. I am also still not so sure about kids. I also told him that I wanted kids, mainly because he never seemed to want to commit to it and so I kind of wanted to force him… now that he said YES, I don't know anymore. So this is just to say that I can totally relate to your feelings.

    Now here's my piece of shared advice:
    All my friends with kids have told me that you can NEVER know for sure that you are ready. And as a matter of fact you will never be. But on the other hand, we all grow with our challenges and we know we've given it thought, we know we have the right father for the little ones, so this gets us one major step ahead of so many other moms, don't you think so? So many bad mothers think to little before becoming pregnant, and so many intelligent women think too much and wait too long…

    Good luck with your decision and all the best,
    Sonja

  33. I grew up convinced I never wanted kids. At around 30 that changed, now I have 3 and it's far and away the best thing I've ever done. If you want to experience every emotion (good and bad) to a degree you didn't think was possible, then do it. Also, think ahead to after the kid years (it seems eternal while in them, but looking back they really lasted about 5 minutes) — how do you want to grow old? With or without?

  34. ATTN: WOMEN ON THE FENCE

    Most people have more than one child and most of them were NOT conceived on accident. This fact would lend itself to the notion that many many many people choose to have ANOTHER child despite the first hand experience and raising a child with sleepless nights and messes and dirty diapers AND yes, AND having children sans the drugs the first time and knowing there wouldn't be any for the second one either. This would make one wonder just how strong the love for a child is that it would warrant such a crazy intentional duplication of such pain, stress, and …..LOVE. I had a child young (19) and at first was worried about losing the fun, carefree life i HAD…I wanted to LLLIVVVVEEEE!! Now I finally have something to live for. She's 3 =)

  35. I'll chime in on the having a baby v. not having a baby.

    I got knocked up when I was 27, by a man who I thought I was going to marry. Not so bad, right? Wrong.

    I saw sides of him I never knew were there when faced with the responsibility of becoming a father. Granted, even married men go through that sort of doubt and fear. We have nine months to bond with baby in utero. They're handed this little warm bundle and assigned role as father, whether they like it or not.
    And I cant honestly say I wouldnt have terminated had he shown these true colors of his early on before it was too late to terminate.
    But that's neither here nor there, b/c at the time I thought we were going to survive, and i couldnt bring myself to terminate something that was created with a man I loved.

    Selfish, but i couldnt bring myself to abort. Not with the situation, not with me being the age I was, making the money I do, etc. And I knew all my life I wanted children, and though this definitely was NOT the most ideal situation or what I had dreamed of, I felt I had no choice. It was a kind of now or never feeling and I couldnt just turn a blind eye to that.

    And let me tell you I resented the hell out of my kid those first few months. I thought, god, what have I done? Then he smiled, and began to babble, and jsut came out of that sleepy stage where they're basically plants for the first few months.

    Then I knew i had made the right decision, and I can honestly say I havent had a moment since where Ive had doubts. Sure, I have my crazy days and daydreaming about my past, but the more you get to know your child, the less you can imagine your life without them.

  36. I had a dream that I was reading my discharge, took a pregnancy test, received a positive result but then read the small print that stated that I was ovulating and not yet pregnant. Crazy blog-based dreams.
    Thanks for livening things up a bit for me!

  37. Wow! Thank you to bestmansgrl, erose, L.C., GraceMarie, christina/ohio, Sonja, Lee, Nat…alie, and Julie for all the kind, thoughtful and generous advice. Stephanie has nice readers. (Thanks as well to Stephanie for allowing me to barge into her slice of cyberspace and pose the question in the first place.) I feel relieved knowing there are others out there who aren't–or weren't–sure. Everyone I know either definitely wants to have children or definitely doesn't. So I was feeling like a bit of a freak. And since I am leaning more towards having kids (well, one to start), the comments about not regretting it are especially soothing. I still have a lot of thinking to do, but I think I now have more direction. It really doesn't help having my mother drop pregancy hints with gems like, "I suppose it'll be either you or (my sister-in-law) to get pregnant next…" Um, presumptuous much? (And oh so subtle.) Anyway, I really appreciate all the comments directed my way. Thanks again. And good luck to the others who remain undecided.

  38. "Its amazing how memory and imagination can both help us and haunt us." — thank you to Mama Dramas.
    SOOOOOO true. Someone once asked me my idea of the worst kind of hell…my response was, and still is: a hell in which we are able to regret. Regret is such a wasted emotion. Yet, if we didn't regret, query our ability to live and learn.

    I fretted over the decsion as to when (not if) to have a baby: I've always wanted to be a mommie, not necessarily a wifie; and yet, there i was, staring at the backside of 35. My marriage troubled, my career choice muddled by the ever constant struggle b/w $ and happiness… so I wondered and wondered…and then, as if it was always meant to be that way, here I am.

    …Life is so confusing,and at times so painful… but so great too; the perfect conundrum.

  39. I think if you are not sure about having children that is your surity; people who want them never even think of not having them. I too have had experience of children in my life to know exactly what hard work it is. There are times when I might pine a bit for that baby smell, or toddler chat, but having children is also going to take your life hostage for the next 20 years. Some people welcome that and some don't.

    This post made me think about a man who lied to me too and that horrible feeling of the ground being not nearly as solid as you thought it was. It is too hard to take your boots of at such times.

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